Angels 2, Mariners 1, 11 innings
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Seattle Mariners led the AL West most of the season and never thought they’d have only a slim chance to make the playoffs by the final week.
The Mariners also dropped 3 1/2 games behind Boston in the wild-card standings with four to play.
“It’s one thing when you have control of your destiny and all you have to do is worry about winning games. But we can win the last four and it doesn’t matter if the other team wins a couple more games,” Seattle’s Bret Boone said.
“A lot crazier things have happened. But I’m not going to sit here and say it looks good, because it doesn’t.”
The Mariners led Oakland by eight games on June 13. By Aug. 27 the Athletics took over first, and they clinched the AL West by beating Texas 4-3 in 10 innings Tuesday night.
“It wasn’t anything about knocking them out,” Salmon said. “It was all about we won the game. We haven’t done this a lot at home. We just haven’t had those kind of games go our way this year.”
Salmon worked the count to 2-2 against former teammate Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2-4) before driving the next pitch into left-center for his 19th homer.
“He pitched me different than I thought he would. He came at me hard and that’s usually not Shiggy’s thing,” Salmon said. “He got me two strikes and by that point, with his control, I’m just trying to react to the ball and he left one over the plate.”
Francisco Rodriguez (8-3) pitched a hitless 11th for the victory.
Angels closer Troy Percival opened the ninth with a four-pitch walk to Carlos Guillen, then walked John Olerud on a 3-2 pitch two outs later. Randy Winn, who came to the plate 1-for-10 against Percival, grounded a 96 mph fastball up the middle to score pinch-runner Luis Ugueto with the tying run.
“The way Soriano got out of that inning with the meat of their order up was impressive,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said.
Freddy Garcia pitched eight-plus innings and retired 17 straight Angels at one point. He allowed one hit over the first seven innings, and four altogether.
Scot Shields was equally impressive. He blanked the Mariners through four innings before giving up a one-out double to Winn in the fifth. Left fielder Garret Anderson ran toward the fence trying to make the catch, but the ball sailed over his outstretched glove.
“Those are some pretty good hitters over there. You get them out one way one time, you’re probably going to have switch it up the next time, and that’s what we did,” Shields said.
Mike Cameron followed with a single to right before Shields retired the next two batters. Guillen singled with one out in the fourth for Seattle’s third hit.
Shields struck out a career-high nine and walked two in eight innings. He has failed to win any of his last four starts, but Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia is encouraged.
“The last two games he’s definitely taken a step forward by using his breaking ball,” Scioscia said. “It’s great to see him bounce back from struggles. His stuff has returned and that is encouraging.”
Garcia struck out five and walked one. He is 12-14 and will wind up with the first losing record of his career.
The right-hander has dominated the Angels in his career with a 10-3 record, including three wins this season.
The Angels went ahead 1-0 when Wooten grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the second inning.
“We’ve got to keep playing like we have been and control what we can control,” Seattle catcher Pat Borders said. “We’ve lost a lot of close gamesat the end and haven’t gotten breaks at the end of those games.”
Anaheim is 1-2 at home and 2-4 overall in extra-inning games. Two of the Angels’ last three wins have come on a game-ending homer. … Anderson needs three hits for 200 this season. … The blown save was Percival’s fourth in 37 attempts this year. … Garcia has given up two earned runs in 27 innings over his last four starts, all with Borders behind the plate. … Garcia becamethe fourth Seattle pitcher this season to reach 200 innings.